As explained in the previous post, the topsy turvy footy gaming situation has left me in a limbo, unsure of what to play and when, due to new consoles, release dates, modding availability etc, so it is what is is and as a result, i find myself here, playing a heavily modded PES 21 on the PC, and PES only means one thing, Master League.

Now whether or not this ML will be a test ML, until the October transfers and DP is finalised, or whether it will carry on as my main ML, or maybe even the shallowness of ML in general will be too much to bare, and will only see me through a few weeks before I defect over to FIFA 21, who knows, but, for now, at this moment in time, this is where I am, PES 21, Master League, the Brazilian League.

I chose the Brazilian league as its a league I have never played in before, in any footy game, so will be new, I won’t know the players, or clubs, and the youth players will also be new, no Arcas, or any of the other familiar names.
I also have every Brazilian 1st and 2nd division teams stadiums available thanks to the Ultimate AIO mod that I am running, so new players, new league, new stadium, I’m trying to make what we already know as a boring ML, as fresh as possible.

I chose EC Baiha as my club, I liked their badge, and tried to pick a team that was in the mid to lower end of the ability levels, I also opted for starting with the original club players, not the ML defaults, its a good base to build upon, with some good players, and some not so good players.

The board wanted a top 6 finish, we compromised on a top half finish, I need time to adjust the team mentality, and get them playing the attacking style of football that fans want to see, it was obvious that in order to achieve this, I needed to trim the 35 man squad down, free up some funds, and bring in some better players.
First in was 74 rated CB Christian Vaz, out went 6 or 7 fringe players, bringing in some key funds which allowed me to also sign Wellington, a pacey nimble LWF who can also play AMF or RWF.

Lovely little kit Baiha have too

So with 2 new key signings made, some crucial funds freed up and a promise of swift attacking football, the season began.
I’m not sure if this is how it works in Brazil, but the opening 2 games of the season were Copa Do Brasil matches, the Brazilian cup, seems odd to kick the season off this way, but I guess the South Americans do it differently.
The opening games were against Sport Recife, who are a very decent side, and with team spirit only starting at 49, was going to be a tough match.

I’ve opted for the default 4-2-3-1 formation, but reserve the right to change this after I have assessed our play a few matches in, playing possession football with tight support and central attacks, defending with front line pressure, with a medium compact line, and have attacking wingbacks, and gegenpress assigned to advance tactics, which i always turn off when starting a match, and apply when necessary.

It indeed was a tough match, losing the away leg 2-0, to two scrappy goals that we should have defended better, all to do in the away leg:

A much better second leg, overturning the deficit, with a 2-0 win to level up on aggregate, extra time didn’t produce any goals, so on to penalties, the first of which you saw at the end of the above clip, using the modded penalty camera view.
Just like AI FK’s are way too overpowered in PES, so are AI penalty saves, the GK saves at least 3 of every 5 you take, no matter how tight to the posts you aim, or how much power you hit it with, they make ridiculous saves, and such was the case here, having 3 penalties saved, to unfortunately crash out of the cup at the first hurdle.

Ironically, the opening league match that followed was vs Recife too, which ended in a 1-1 draw, promising signs that even at this early stage we can compete with better teams.

On a final note, whilst not at the levels they should be, the Holland v3 game play patch that I am using, thanks to a heads up from regular commenter #1, does introduce more fouls, this kind of number, was the average over the next few games, better than the 0 or 1 from before.
The patch also slows game play pace down, makes the AI a little less predictable and more aggressive, they take more long shots etc, I’m liking it so far.

Next week i will touch on the squad, tactics, and a look at the youth academy.